In the last post I asked what keeps you up all night. I’ll tell you what used to keep me up all night: When I was expected to put together a list of media, worse yet a list of blogs, using a media database.
List-building is a tactic used in most public relations firms and even by me. It works to organize your efforts and keep track of data. Done well they can be a very good tool for your records. Not done well, they can be a disaster, and one of the key reasons why you are not getting any media results.
List-building kept me up all night literally because building the lists the way I wanted them was time consuming. From a client perspective, that means expensive. Furthermore, list-building kept me up all night philosophically because I knew that there had to be a better way to do it that would make connecting with members of the media easier.
When you pull a list from a database, you are at the mercy of how that system classifies your contacts. Thus, sometimes the results couldn’t be further from the truth. Someone could be classified as an arts and entertainment blogger, but a closer look reveals that they only write about a particular band. Contacting them about an upcoming concert that has nothing to do about that band is inconsiderate. Yet, you would want to send them information about the band they do write about. You don’t know unless you research them or you have been in the field long enough to know what they write. Then what? Do you put them on the list? Take them off? Add them to a sub-list? After a while I found I had so many sub-lists that having a list became a joke.
It became frustrating that all bloggers or all those journalists on the list were classified as being the same, when in fact they were all quite different. I would not approach any of them the same way I would approach another. Blogging and social media is a conversation that changes all the time, so it was tough for me to classify people on a spreadsheet in that way.
Since I came up with the idea of matching, I have really been able to sleep better. Trust me, I spent many nights awake coming up with it. I am not adverse to lists. I really do support them. Sometimes I just think that we are over-organizing with lists and matching helps that. We don’t need a list in every situation. It is like trying to fit a person into a small rectangular box.
So, if you want better tips for list-building, sign up here. I’ll put you on my list, and I will send you everything I ever write. Just kidding.
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- Listening vs Bragging: How to Connect Better With Your Audience
- Up all night! My Alternative to Using a Media Database for Public Relations List-Building
- To Blog, or Not to Blog, That is the Question